Gadchiroli Dec. 13 (District correspondent) Mulniwasi Hakka Sangharsha Samiti, Etapalli has demanded that relaxation should be given while submitting the pending forest rights claims of encroached agricultural land.
A memorandum in this regard was sent to Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari through Tehsildar of Etapalli by Mr. Manohar Borkar, President of the Samiti and farmers recently highlighting the problems of the farmers.
Around two to three thousand tribal farmers of various villages in Etapalli taluka have encroached upon the forest rights land and these claims are pending for approval of the forest rights. According to the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006 and Rules 2008, forest rights claim proposals have been submitted to the concerned office in the year 2013 itself. Then in the year 2014 Sub Divisional Forest Rights Committee and the office of Sub Divisional Officer, Etapalli issued a notice to all the claimant farmers to submit some evidence. Accordingly the encroaching farmers have also submitted the necessary evidence.
However, despite nine years of submission of forest rights claims to the government and administration, these claims have not been approved, pointed out the memorandum. It also states that the farmers have continuously requested the Taluka and District administrations to approve the pending forest rights claims, but the administration has deliberately neglected to approve the forest rights claims.
As the farmers have not been given the forest rights as yet, they are facing difficulties in selling the produce grown in encroached fields and also in taking advantage of various schemes of the government. Also some uneducated Adivasis farmers have been farming ancestral forest land for the last fifty to sixty years and are making a living for their families on these land. However, since they do not have the encroachment register as a written proof of possession related to the agricultural land, it is becoming difficult for such farmers to submit the forest rights claim proposals, said the memorandum further.
Therefore, while submitting the forest rights proposal of the encroachment farmers belonging to the tribal community, relaxation should be given in submitting the encroachment register and similar proofs.
Besides Mr. Manohar Borkar, Dohe Hedo, Dattu Usendi, Raju Pungati, Deepak Madavi, Deu Gawde, Manoj Veladi, Ramji Gota, Yashwant Kovashi, Dalsu Lekmi, Birju Lekmi, Mainu Gota, Prakash Lekmi, Umesh Lekmi, Deepak Kerkatta, Vinod Toppo, Anil Beck, Junki Hichami and the farmers have signed the memorandum.
Photo Mr. Manohar Borkar and other farmers seen in front of the Tehsildar’s office.